Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
About the Author
Gaskell was born Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson on September 29, 1810. Her family lived in Chelsea (now Cheyne Walk.) After her mother died when Gaskell was still a toddler, her father, William, took her to North England to stay with an aunt. He remarried, and didn’t see her again until she was twelve years old, causing her to feel abandoned. At twenty, she married William Gaskell, a Unitarian minister like her father, and moved to 1 Dover Street, Manchester. She had four daughters, and worked as a pastor’s wife among the young girls who labored long hours in the city’s cotton mills. A frequent traveler, the nature of her foreign correspondence reveals that she was a private person – she wanted the letters burned – who was more industrious and organized than passionate.